Wholly Kaw | Pasteur's Alchemy
Leo Frilot Tru-Stone Copper Matrix | AP Shave Co. SynBad 30mm
Phoenix Shaving | Ascension Double Open Comb | Copper
Treet Platinum Super Stainless Steel
I was fortunate enough to have procured the full soap/splash/EdT set of Wholly Kaw's Pasteur's Alchemy. It didn't arrive such that the next day would be a shave day, so I simply applied the EdT in the morning to enjoy the fragrance throughout the day. The shave would follow in the evening. The documented notes of Pasteur's Alchemy are: neroli, mandarin, cannabis, rose, amber, sandalwood, oud, and vanilla.
The EdT opens beautifully with a bright and slightly powdery sweet orange floral that very nearly approaches tobacco flower as it transitions to a deep darker ambery rose. After a couple hours this descends to a soft, resin and sandalwood followed by spicy vanilla. Given the EdT concentration, the dry down is surprisingly protracted, offering a pleasant warm, nondescript amber presence with intermittent vanilla. Amidst an active work day, the EdT was still detectable, albeit faintly, at the 6 hour mark. I did search for just a hint of cannabis, particularly in the second act, but I could not detect it.
At the end of the day, it was time for my usual evening head and face shower shave. The lather shares the profile, but presents it in a very different manner. The opening neroli/mandarin is present, but brief, muted, and quickly overtaken by a bold herbaceous musk. This is not dank, but certainly more representative of cannabis and even an exotic hashish note cannot be ruled out. I suspect the animalic tallows of the soap carry this aspect much better and true than the splash and EdT, and this is probably a good thing. Despite this punchy mid, there is a mitigating floral that tempers this striking, unconventional fragrance.
I finished with the paired splash which revisited the presentation of the EdT I'd just experienced all day. I will say, this reverse introduction of the Pasteur's Alchemy fragrance provided some unique insight in terms of the unfolding and reveal. All in all, while the soap is quite exotic and daring, the EdT is---obviously by design---more wearable.
As to the performance of the soap base, coined "Bufala", it is very similar to Wholly Kaw's donkey milk and hops base which I've praised previously. The lather demands generous amounts of water that should be introduced gradually. This soap will lather and work quickly, but it you take your time building, you'll have a very different experience. The pay-off is a medium profile, thick, paintable lather with impressive initial and secondary slickness that interacts with your skin as opposed to making your gear slick and oily. While there is simply nothing going against this soap's performance, the post-shave is the aspect that sets Bufala above the prior base and its competitors. It's hard to resist running my hands across my silky smooth scalp following this shave. Among a crowded field of incredibly high performing artisan soap bases, Bufala may yet offer the best post-shave in the business.